Research released today by Collinson Group, a global leader in influencing customer behaviour and parent company of leading brands Priority Pass and ICLP, found that affluent middle class customers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are more likely to interact with their bank using digital channels than ever before. Financial services brands looking to boost engagement must ensure their loyalty initiatives are aligned to their customers’ digital expectations.


The research found that 83 percent of affluent middle class customers use banking and finance apps – up from 36 percent in 2014. It also revealed that 42 percent of customers prefer to do their banking online or via mobile app, while 32 percent prefer telephone banking and 26 percent prefer to go into a branch.

Collinson Group polled 6,125 of the top 10-15 percent of earners from Australia, Brazil, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the United Arab Emirates. 

Other key insights from the research which defines how UAE affluent middle class consumers interact with financial services organisation include:

Customers reported they:

Percentage (UAE)

Percentage (Global)

make digital payments whenever they can



believe mobile banking is incredibly important



would consider a branchless digital bank if I were to switch banks in the future



use digital vouchers on a smartphone




As the affluent middle class increasingly choose digital channels to engage with financial service organisations, Collinson Group recommends that brand managers act now to ensure loyalty programmes meet customers’ demands for a seamless digital experience. This becomes even more important as the spending power of Millennials and Generation Z is set to soar in the next five years. Millennials are pushing companies to innovate faster and are defining new customer expectations. Born in the age of instant communication, smart technology, and a hyper-connected world, these young consumers are influencing digital transformation. 

“Digital will be the biggest battleground in financial services as digitally native Millennials and Generation Z become more lucrative target audiences for the sector. We can expect to see digital engagement continue to soar over the next three to five years. Brands need to act now in order to improve their digital offering, or risk missing the opportunity to build loyal relationships with lucrative audience segments,” said Christopher Evans, Director at Collinson Group.

The financial services opportunity

“The way people shop and the way they interact with loyalty programmes has changed. Millennials and Generation Z for example, typically engaging across five screens simultaneously. Their relationship with brands is also completely different to other audience groups– they want instant gratification and claim not to want to save up loyalty points over a longer period to access a reward.”

“But the traditional financial services firms actually have a clear opportunity to deliver highly engaging, digitally driven loyalty initiatives due to the wealth of data they collect. They need to go further in terms of using this data to improve targeting and segmentation to appeal to distinct audience groups. Banks really need to develop their own loyalty identities,” said Christopher Evans, Director at Collinson Group.

The UAE is perfectly placed to capitalise on the digital loyalty uprising, with additional insight from Collinson Group finding a strong appetite for loyalty programmes. The research found that UAE banking loyalty programmes encourage 87 percent of members to spend more and that membership for bank loyalty programmes has risen from 25 percent in 2014 to 39 percent in 2016.

“Digital loyalty initiatives can be far more cost effective than more traditional methods. By levering data and delivering highly personalised loyalty rewards at the appropriate time, brands can form emotional connections with customers and create additional sales opportunities across their organisation. Embracing digital tools will allow brands to communicate and engage their customers in more meaningful ways, and digital applications can be used to drive bank wide loyalty. Doing this will help create active digital footprints and take the next step beyond loyalty to fully fledged brand advocacy,” Mr Evans concluded.


About the research

Independent research was conducted by SSI Research in Singapore during January 2016 on behalf of Collinson Group. 6,125 consumers within the top 10-15 percent of earners in Australia, Brazil, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the United Arab Emirates were polled online.


About Collinson Group

Collinson Group ( is a global leader in influencing customer behaviour to drive revenue and value for clients. 

The Group offers a unique blend of industry and sector specialists who together provide market-leading experience in delivering products and services across four core capabilities: Loyalty, Lifestyle Benefits, Insurance and Assistance.

The group provides unrivalled insight and expertise around affluent consumers and frequent travellers, creating and delivering products and services that increase engagement, loyalty and value for customers.

We have 25 years’ experience, with 26 global locations, servicing over 800 clients in 170 countries, employing 2,000 staff, and managing over 20 million end customers. Our clients include: MasterCard, VISA, Diners, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Air France KLM and InterContinental Hotels Group.

Collinson Group comprises leading brands including: Priority Pass, Columbus Direct, ICLP, Collinson Latitude.


Source: Blue Apple Mediacom FZ LLC